equipment manufacturing firm. A coalition of concerned scientists and environmental groups has issued a report on global warming, the theory that the recent gradual heating of the earth’s atmosphere is a result of human and industrial activity. The scientists point to several climate change risks: rising ocean levels, erosion of shorelines, disruption of agriculture, and loss of animal habitat. The coalition’s report suggests that Con-Glom and other large corporations are using loopholes to avoid complying with federal emissions standards because they are more concerned with profits and jobs than environmental preservation.
In response to the report and the public outcry it produces, Con-Glom faces a decision about whether or not to install filtering systems at its plants. The filtering systems are expensive to purchase and install (about $75,000 per site), and their use would initially decrease the productivity of Con-Glom’s manufacturing plants at a time when the company already faces serious financial problems. Nevertheless, the company is seriously considering installing the filtering systems and publicizing its action as a means of countering the negative publicity generated by the report.
However, the decision is likely to be unpopular among employees and their families. The cost of the filtering systems and the loss of manufacturing output would force Con-Glom to scale back production by 5% and close one of its eleven production facilities. If the filtering systems are installed at ten facilities, the company will be forced to close its oldest and least efficient manufacturing plant, located in Greenwich, Illinois. This action would put 1,400 employees out of work, in an area already suffering from high unemployment. Alternatively, the company could install the filtering systems at only five of its plants. In this case, the Greenwich, Illinois plant would not need to be closed, but production would still need to be scaled back and 700 employees would be laid off.
The company’s CEO, William B. Friedman, has asked you to assess the situation facing the company and suggest a solution to the problem. Write a memo to Mr. Friedman in which you discuss your solution. A secondary audience might be the members of his Management Committee.
Elements of a desired response:
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